Innovations In Social Media Marketing Using Big Data

Innovations In Social Media Marketing Using Big Data

People are changing how they interact with businesses due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While some may still rely on traditional marketing and advertising, others are turning to social media platforms for the most up-to-date news stories and products.

Traditional Marketing Is Still Important

Even before the pandemic, digital marketing was changing the game. Marketers were moving away from traditional marketing models and towards more strategic approaches focused on attracting the right audience with the right message at the right time. In doing so, they would encourage online engagement and offline activity such as store visits and phone calls. These behaviors put businesses at the forefront of marketing efforts.

While the economic impacts of Covid-19 were likely to be felt across all industries, retail, leisure, and hospitality were the sectors most likely to experience an annual contraction in 2020 of between 10% and 30%. The tourism sector, which contributes greatly to economies across the world, was among the hardest hit, experiencing an 80% drop in annual visitations.

This was likely to significantly impact marketers’ traditional marketing activities, especially as airports, theme parks, and other attractions reliant on tourism were among the first to close down. Campaigns designed to encourage people to hit the road to visit stores and restaurants were likely to be ineffective shortly.

The Shift To Online Marketing

With fewer people traveling and more staying at home, digital marketing shifted from being a supplementary activity to a form in its own right. The spread of mobile devices and the internet made it possible to reach and engage with customers wherever they are, rather than relying on them to visit a store or a website.

Overnight deliveries and click-and-collect shopping have become attractive alternatives for busy consumers who cannot visit physical stores. Marketers must adjust their strategies and work harder to ensure their digital content is discoverable by prospective customers.

Beyond Digital Marketing

Even further alterations to marketing as we know it will emerge as the impact of Covid-19 continues to be felt. The pandemic has led to significant changes in behavior, including increased e-commerce spending, increased online activity, and more time spent online. This trend will continue as people seek greater privacy and safer, more convenient ways to conduct business.

E-commerce platforms such as Shopbop, Bloomingdale’s, and Bergdorf Goodman have recorded significant increases in online activity due to the pandemic. Most of these platforms plan to ramp up e-commerce during the next marketing campaign.

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Retail brands must now adjust their focus to attracting the right audience, engaging them, and encouraging them to convert to buyers. This requires a deeper understanding of customer needs, behaviors, and lifestyles than ever before.

Why Big Data?

Marketing analytics is the second most used tool or service cited by respondents, trailing only advertising agencies. The fact that marketing analytics is such a highly-valued tool demonstrates how crucial it is for marketers to get their data right.

If a business cannot measure its performance efficiently and effectively, it cannot improve.

This is where big data comes in. With all the marketing alterations resulting from the pandemic, it is time to revisit the question: ‘Is big data important to my business?’

The good news is that big data is critical to any business, regardless of size. Big data helps businesses make more informed decisions, better understand customer needs, and improve performance. While some of the abovementioned changes will not directly correlate to increased big data usage, there will undoubtedly be a significant uptick in all areas due to the pandemic.

This should come as no great surprise. After all, this is what big data was designed for. Marketing and business analytics are arguably the two most beneficial uses of big data. The former provides valuable insights into marketing activities, allowing business to optimize their campaigns and improve performance. Analytics helps businesses make informed decisions based on hard facts and figures, giving them a 360-degree view of the performance of their businesses.

Businesses leveraging big data to understand their customer’s behavior needs and goals comprehensively will undoubtedly see significant benefits.

The role of marketing and advertising in shaping public opinion towards or against the products or services a business provides will become even more important. With shoppers largely protected worldwide, businesses must ensure their delivery channels, marketing, and advertising are reliable sources of information about their products.

Why Facebook Ads?

Facebook ads are one of the most popular online marketing campaigns globally, with close to a billion monthly active users. They are extremely effective in reaching people and engaging them into taking action. Consumers have bought a product or service after an ad or sponsored content was published on social media. In addition, 50% of consumers have specifically cited a brand’s social media presence when making a purchase decision.

One of the major advantages of Facebook ads is that marketers can target specific audiences based on demographics, interests, behaviors, and even psychological factors. In the next section, we’ll discuss pinpointing your ideal customer and using that information to your marketing advantage.

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Targeting Specific Audiences On Facebook

It’s important to understand that not all audiences are created equal—some people like what you offer, while others may not. For example, if you run a retail store and promote products related to women’s fashion, your target audience will likely be composed of the fairer sex. On the other hand, if your product or service is aimed at men, you may want to broaden your target audience to include a wider range of people.

When you set up a Facebook ad, you can target specific audiences by pulling data from many locations. For instance, you can use your website’s analytics platform to identify people who have been physically there (e.g., filled out a form on your site), those who have been there through another website (e.g., purchased a product from your site), those who have been there through a mobile app (e.g., downloaded your app), and those who have been there through social media channels (e.g., followed your company on Twitter).

Once you have that info, you can adjust your targeting options to pinpoint your ideal customer. For example, if you have a retail store, you may want to target individuals who are most likely to be visiting your site and making a purchase. You can use website traffic to/from the U.S. to identify potential customers.

You can target specific audiences based on the following factors:

  • Demographics (e.g. age, gender)
  • Interests (e.g. technology, cars, travel, food)
  • Lifestyle (e.g. music, movies, sports)
  • Attitudes (e.g. politics, social issues)
  • Psychological factors (e.g. envy, trust, and credibility)
  • Loyalty (e.g. repeat customers, people with common interests)
  • Customer lifetime value


Marketers have known for a while that people flock to social media to follow like-minded individuals’ popular opinions and sentiments. This phenomenon has been documented as the “echo chamber effect.” Marketers can harness this effect and use social media to their advantage.

The effect is based on the principle that since individuals are reading and sharing the same content on social media, the more they share, the more people will listen. This is also known as the “herd effect.” The best way to reach this audience is through content that resonates with them. Create content that’s unique to their worldview and offers solid value.”

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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